< Back

The Canterbury Synagogue

Frank Haes

<plain_text><page sequence="1">THE CANTERBURY SYNAGOGUE. Extract from William Somner's Antiquities of Canterbury (London, 1640), p. 124. " Jury-lane, the same (I take it) which of old I finde called Little-pet-lane. There was of their houses hereaway to the number of almost 20. All which together with their Synagogue (or, as more frequently called, Schola Iudd?orum, their School), upon their generali banishment out of this and all other parts of the Kingdome in Ed. 2 daies 1 (at what time their number amounted to 16,511), as confiscate, escheated to the King : and by him were eftsoones, some of gift, some otherwise alienated, some to one, some to another, but the most (to the number of at least 12 and a void piece of ground which was Communitatis Iudd?orum Civitatis, i. the Jewes in common) to the Monks of Christ-Church. Their Synagogue or School stood about where now some part of the Saracens head 2 Tavern doth, as appeares by the Records of Christ-Church. Which have this bound to certain fee of the late Monks hard by it, viz., Terra in parochia sanctorum inter magnum vicum qui est versus Aquilonem, and Scholam Iudeeoram quae est versus Austrum, juxta venellam qua itur a prsedicto magno vico versus sanctam Mildritham : namely the land in the parish of All Saints between the great street which is towards the north and the school of the Jews which is toward the South, nigh a lane which leads from the said street towards St. Mildred's, being that ground I take it whereof the fore part to the streetward of that which is now the Saracen's Head Tavern, being in shew nearer than the back part was after? wards built. To which ground the very next house above (the Mitre) is bounded WTestward, and called domus juxta scolam Iudeorum, thus explained 1 Edward the Second is an error, but a marginal note gives the correct date, 1290. The King should be Edward the First. In the Anglo-Jewish Exhibition of 1887 the original Charter of Edward the First under the Great Seal and dated 1291, granting to Christ Church the houses in Canterbury belonging to the Jews lately banished, was exhibited by the Dean and Chapter of Canterbury Cathedral. The deed is reproduced in the illustrated edition. 2 "Now the * King's Head' ": N. Battely, in his second edition of Somers, 1703, p. 65. 220</page><page sequence="2">THE CANTERBURY SYNAGOGUE. 221 in the Rentall, viz., domus lapidea quae est contra terram ubi scola Tudxorum sita est versus Occidentem. By all which I collect and verily concieve, that the now Stone Parlour of the Stracen's Head mounted upon a Vault and ascended by many Stone-steps (as the Jewish Synagogues and Schools were alwayes built aloft2) is the Remaines of a good part of that which was our Canterbury Jewes School or Synagogue." F. H. 1 The author cites for this statement, Moses and Aaron, lib. ii. cap. 2, p. 80.</page></plain_text>